"Poverty is not natural"...but generosity is!

Today I wonder if people would take time to reflect on the reason that some have so much whilst most have so little. Is it natural that 80% of the world’s population own just 6% of world wealth whilst 1% of people have 43% of the world’s wealth to themselves? Is it normal that western countries are approximately 80 times richer than the rest of the world? A well known saying that goes ‘for some to have a lot many must have little’ comes to mind. But what if we could change this, what if we in the west didn’t actually need as much as we think we need? What if we were content with our basic human needs so that others could also receive what they need? Maybe we could forgo the dinner out or the holiday abroad or the new dress so that others could have a chance to simply live, to have clean water, to go to school and to have food?

I would like to propose that we have a duty to steward what we have been given well. One cannot decide to be born into a wealthy family, a wealthy country or into a wealth of opportunites but if they are then they can choose to steward this wealth wisely. John F Kennedy once said “To whom much is given, much is required.” He has a good point. If you have been given much then you have a unique opportunity, a responsibility to help others and to redistribute the wealth. What if we gave until it hurt, what if we did not adjust our living standards in response to our wealth but we instead adjusted our giving standards in response to our wealth?

Now many people would say, ‘But can I really make a difference?’ Of course you can! A famous quote from Gandhi says “The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.” And he’s right, we all have unique skills that we can use to bless others, and to make the world a better place. Myself, and my colleagues Olivia and Sam started KCK when were all students with very little money, but we knew that something had to be done to change the lives of children and communities living in extreme poverty in Uganda. Olivia and I knew that we didn’t need as much as the western culture told us we needed. The constant deceiving advertisements saying ‘you need to buy this’ to be happy are just that, deceiving; the reality is you don’t need what our culture tells us we need to live a happy, meaningful and successful life. Our colleague Sam knew that he didn’t want to pursue a life striving only for himself and his own needs either and decided to dedicate his life to helping the poor in his own country. Now you may think this is an exceptional story but it’s not, we can all do something to change the way that our world is set up. Its set up to keep the poor poor and make the rich richer. But what is actually happening is that the rich are depressed and the poor are dying, and actually if the rich helped the poor they would probably be happier.

Finally the necessity to help the poor is not a matter of doing our bit or feeling sorry for people but it is a matter of justice. Is it not unjust that where someone is born determines whether they can live or die, have education, shelter, health and opportunities? To explain the title of this blog post, it comes from an inspirational quote from and inspirational leader Nelson Mandela which goes like this

“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom”

So let’s be that generation, lets decide not to believe in the need to gain excess but to believe in the need give in excess.

Click here to view video that explains the distribution of wealth in the world today